Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day!!!

Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays. It doesn't seem to be much of a celebration here in the lower 48 (from what I have seen), but growing up in Alaska it was a big deal. I think it is partly to do with the very present connection between the people of Alaska and the nature that surrounds them. You really cannot escape it, no matter how hard you try, nature is just all up in your face.  I suppose it probably scares a lot of people especially if you aren’t used it, and I can honestly say there were a couple times as a child I was scared myself (being chased by a moose is terrifying). But the people who live up there are used it. They know how to deal with the dangers and mostly just appreciate everything they have. Most of the people I knew growing up lived off the land in some sense, hunting or fishing for a majority of their meat, collecting and preserving wild berries in the summer, and growing epic vegetable gardens in the summer (24hour sun equals monstersveggies). What we think of as being green isn’t so much a choice as it is the cheapest way to get by up there.

Focusing in on my point, Earth Day growing up was more of an Earth Week. My grade school focused all subjects in on nature in some way. We would go on walks to identify edible and poisonous plants, we would go on roadside, park and beach cleanups, music class we would sing songs about nature (my favorite always being “Baby Beluga”) and I vividly remember decorating our school hallways with nature themes made from papers and newspapers that were saved throughout the year for the occasion. My first even contribution was a papier-mâché beluga, that in my 5 year old brain was the most brilliant paper rendering of an animal ever created, but really just looked like a giant grey fish with an eye painted on it.

Yes. I love Belugas

What they actually look like and what my papier-mâché master piece looked like


Sadly as an adult spending my school hours (work) constructing elaborate and slightly off kilter paper animals is frowned upon.  I have had to alter my Earth Day plans a bit (though I still sing Baby Beluga in my head all day), and I try to make Earth Day more of a day to refocus on my goals as a more earth conscious individual. Luckily for me this is the time of year when most farmers markets start opening, and the weather gets nicer so getting places without a car becomes more feasible. Last year I managed to take my garbage contribution from a once a week pickup to a once a  month, I tried to only buy used cloths (don’t worry that doesn’t include undergarments), and did my best to only buy produce from the organic market down the street from my house. This year I am not sure what I am going to do, I keep a running list of things I would like to do and every year I managed to cross a couple of them off. Making better decisions is easy as long as you start small, and don’t overwhelm yourself with goals. Nobody is perfect, but try to make a list of some things you would like to do this year to make yourself more earth conscious and see how many you can accomplish by Earth Day next year!

My list (so far)
-Acquire honey bee hive and  harvest own honey.
-Get urban chicken license and keep chickens for eggs.
-Make larger planter boxes or more home produce.
-Reduce garbage by half.
-Only drive car to and from work.
-Figure out perfect recipe for cleaning products that don’t include harmful chemicals.
-Reduce plastic use.
-Can own tomato base.
-Learn how to make date bars and preserve properly.
-Invest in a good local CSA.
-Only take train when traveling to Seattle.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I was watching the new planet earth human series sunday night and they were showing people living in northern canada. It was awesome! The people would sew seal skin back together, fill it with birds they had caught, bury the seal in a hole under rocks, wait six months, and have a firmented delicacy! Incredible. These people are strong and thriving. This is the greatest proof that a vegan diet is not the healthiest. Though it works for some.